€20m in annual forestry payments to issue from today

The annual tax-free forestry premium payments for 2016 will be issued from today, the Minister of State with responsibility for Forestry, Tom Hayes, has announced.

Minister Hayes indicated that payments should reach bank accounts week beginning today (Monday April 11, 2016).

According to the Department, the payments currently being issued are to those forest owners who applied through the paper-based system.

“This year, €19.76m in respect of some 6,600 such applications is being paid in this week’s bulk payment run, bringing the total value of forestry premium paid so far this year to almost €55m.”

The Department will continue to process forestry premium applications as they are received throughout the year, with the total paid in forest premiums each year averaging just over €75m.

Forest premiums are payable annually under the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme, which also provides grants to landowners to cover the cost of planting new forests.

The Scheme supports the planting of different types of forests ranging from commercial forests for timber production to native woodlands planted for conservation purposes.

Forest owners, who are still eligible for forest premiums on their plantations, may apply for the payment of the annual premium online, through the Department’s Online Services, or by completion and return of the Application for Annual Forest Premium (Form 4).

To date, the Department confirmed that almost 9,000 online premium applications to the scheme, valued at nearly €35m, have been processed and paid through the Department’s online services.

Earlier this year, a new Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme came into operation on January 1, 2015 under the Forestry Programme 2014-2020.

In addition to the availability of establishment grants, an annual forestry premium of up to €635/ha for 15 years is available under the Scheme, details of which, including associated terms and conditions, are available on the Forestry page of the Department’s website.